February Conference

Date and location
Saturday 22 February 2020, 9.30am-4.15pm
McGrath Centre, St Catherine’s College, Cambridge

Theme and focus

Speakers

  • Prof John Wyatt (Emeritus Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics, Ethics & Perinatology, University College London)
  • Prof Glynn Harrison (Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Bristol)
  • Dr Sam Brewitt-Taylor (Fellow and Tutor in History, Oxford University)
  • Kristi Mair (PhD candidate in Philosophical Theology, University of Birmingham, and Research Fellow, Oak Hill College)

Morning Plenaries

  • Science, Modernity and the Post-Human (Prof John Wyatt)
    Rapid advances in AI, robotics and related technologies are raising profound questions about human nature and the future of humanity. This session will look at some of the deep forces and trends which underlay these developments and show the extraordinary relevance of historic biblical thinking to these challenges, and the opportunities for Christian witness and engagement
  • Identity Politics and the Doctrine of the Image of God (Prof Glynn Harrison)
    We are living through a post-modern era marked by campus culture wars and the weaponisation of identity. This session will explore how a confident biblical anthropology, rooted in the doctrine of the image of God can help Christians academics engage more positively with these cultural issues of the day.

Tracks for Subject-Groups
After lunch, there will be a choice of four subject-specific groups (arts and humanities; philosophy and theology; natural sciences; social sciences).

  • Understanding Western Secularity: Historical Insights on Today’s Western Societies (Dr Sam Brewitt-Taylor)
    To reach a culture, it is helpful to understand it: but understanding one’s own culture is often extremely difficult. This seminar explores how recent historical insights into the nature of today’s Western secular societies can help Western Christians understand the cultural context they are called to operate in.
  • Beyond (Post-)Modernity: Michael Polanyi’s Contribution to the Development of a Christian Epistemology (Kristi Mair)
    Absolute truth claims within the Academy are often greeted with bemusement, if not outright scorn. Postmodern construals of truth can be devastatingly powerful. Without a robust realism, ontology and epistemology, it is tempting to compromise and follow the status quo. In this session, we will look at reality and knowing through the work of scientist-cum-philosopher Michael Polanyi as we allow him to lead us into a fruitful engagement with the nature of truth and reality which moves beyond the strictures of modernity and the ‘me-ism’ of late-modernity. We will explore how questions of truth ultimately connect with Christ, thus establishing a greater confidence in our academic disciplines and greater joy our own knowing ventures.
  • Transgender and the Politicisation of the Social Sciences (Prof Glynn Harrison)
  • Life as a Research Scientist: Opportunities and Challenges in a University Context (Prof John Wyatt)
    Prof John Wyatt discusses lessons and experiences from a career as a research scientist in a university context, with opportunity for Q and A.

Please register via our Eventbrite page.